In terms of volume, steel is the most popular alloy in the world. This is because it is suitable for a huge amount of applications, from structural uses to a number of specialist ones. Whatever the use, it is vital that the material is good quality. One way to determine this is to get tests like Ultrasonic Testing (UT). They can detect internal and surface discontinuities that could cause issues.
What are inclusions?
Of all the things that could affect the quality of steel, inclusions are one you should definitely check for. They are non-metallic compound materials that can find their way into the metal during manufacturing. There are lots of examples, including an array of oxides, silicates, phosphides, and sulfides.
Why do they cause problems?
The main thing to keep in mind is that an inclusion will differ from the steel in terms of the chemical origin and mechanical properties. The latter can cause big problems. It can mean that the spots in the steel where there is an inclusion have a different level of hardness, corrosion resistance, and formability. Perhaps more importantly, they can have a lower fatigue resistance. As a result it can cause cracks and other flaws.
Overall people can quantify the quality of steel based on the number of inclusions or their severity. Steels with more are a lower quality and may not be suitable for many uses. On the other hand, higher quality ones have less and therefore enjoy more uniform mechanical properties and fewer flaws.
Ultrasonic Testing to spot inclusions
At Format NDT Ltd we know how problematic inclusions can be. That is why we can support clients who want to test steel so they can get a better idea of how many there are and their locations. We use modern equipment to do this. Luckily the high contrast between an inclusion and the metal background makes it relatively easy to spot them. Our team also have a huge amount of experience here.
So, if you want to get a better idea of the quality of your steels, please contact us to arrange Ultrasonic Testing (UT) or one of our other forms of NDT. We serve clients in various industries and always achieve high standards.